Information systems Lecture- 5. IS Management System Development process. Chapter objectives:- Systems Development Life Cycle (SDLC) Development of Structured Methodologies Alternative approaches to developing systems Critical success factors.
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System Development process
Systems development could be seen as the simple process of writing programs to solve the needs of the user. Unfortunately the user knows what he wants but has no technical expertise while the programmer understands the computer but not the user environment.
This communication gap between the customer and the service provider must be handled by an intermediary, the systems analyst.
Broadly speaking therefore the systems analyst translates user’s needs into detailed specifications for implementation by the programmer.
The number of stages and names to describe those stages differ slightly between
organizations; but the SDLC normally covers the activities shown in the figure, each with a primary purpose.
Systems Development Process
The preliminary investigation is carried out to determine the scope and objectives of the new system and to investigate whether there is a feasible solution.
At this stage an analyst or small project team is authorized to investigate the real potential of the new application. During this brief study the analyst must investigate the problem and the existing system sufficiently to be able to identify the true extent and purpose of the new application.
In order to ensure that the new system would be of greater benefit to the organization than other competing requests for proposals, a feasibility study must be performed covering the following three major areas:
Define the problem areas. These may include such issues as poor response times in the existing system, poor presentation of current information, high costs or weak controls in the current system, waste and sometimes duplication.
The analysis stage of the SDLC has clearly identified what must be done in order to meet the user’s requirements.
In the past, most large organizations developed their own applications as no two organizations were exactly alike, and they could afford the investment in systems developed around their user’s needs.
Today the picture is changing as custom-built software is becoming very expensive to develop and even more so to maintain. Computer applications are large, complex and integrated and many businesses have become non competitive because of their inability to develop systems that adequately support their business activities.
On the reverse side, packages (pre-written software applications) are becoming more common and can be customized to meet the needs of each organization. With major benefits in terms of speed of installation, cost, low maintenance and low risk, more and more companies are switching to packaged applications software.
The objective of the design stage is to determine exactly how the new system will work, and to communicate this information in a document referred to as the detailed systems specification.
There are three main objectives which the designer has to bear in mind while evolving and evaluating a design:
When the new system has been in operation for a few months, a post implementation audit should be carried out. This audit must ascertain whether the project has achieved the initial objectives specified in terms of:
Finally resources will be required to maintain and enhance the system over its operational life which can vary between 4 and 10 years. This will ensure that there is a defined time when the project is completed and that all the required documentation is produced.
There are many systems in existence that are still supported by the original developer; and all knowledge of the system exists only in that individual’s head. The problem is that when this person leaves, there is no one with any knowledge of the system and the organization is at risk.
The following table summarizes the important tasks in the six stages of the SDLC and highlights the main deliverables from each task.
IS researchers, and in particular Larry Constantine, studied theproblems of program sizeand complexity, and determined that, as a problem grew in size, so there was a more than proportional growth in the complexity of the problem and therefore in programming time.
He advocated that all systems should be made up of small modules each no longer than fifty lines of program code.
This technique was known as structured design; and a graphical representation of the modules and their relationships known as a structure chart, was developed to assist in the process.
Over the past 40 years, efforts have been made to improve the quality of new systems and to reduce the time and effort expended in their development. The following section provides an overview of some of the significant tools and techniques developed for this purpose.
3.2 Joint Application Development (JAD)
3.3 Computer Assisted Software Engineering (CASE)
3.4 Object Oriented Development (OOD)
3.5 Other development tools
One major problem in systems development projects is the lack of real communication, understandingand consensus between users, managementand the development team.
Instead of the traditional one on one interviews spread over weeks and often months, the JAD approach involves a series of highly structured workshops where stakeholders focus on any one of the planning, analysis, design and implementation stages of the life cycle.
One obvious advantage of this approach is a reduction in the time it takes to develop systems
Offering a set of integrated electronic tools for use in the SDLC. During the first phase of system development.
Provide the analyst with computerized tools to complete and document the analysis .
Provide detailed design stages of the development project by graphically modeling the data requirements.
Providethe business process flows that the intended application has to address.
The resultant application model is then used as a blueprint for the actual implementation in computer code. The tools that are geared specifically for this modeling phase are referred to as upper-CASE or U-CASE tools.
Lower-CASE tools specialize in the second phase of system development.
Integrated or I-CASE aims to automate both phases i.e. a combination of upper and lower- CASE tools in one single package.
Most CASE environments use an electronic project dictionary as a repository and can include:
The object oriented approach attempts to build components (objects) that model the behavior of persons, places, things or concepts that exist in the real world and then to build systems from these components.
Not designing and building unique systems for motor cars or televisions; they are mostly built up from a set of common, interchangeable components.
Visual programming tools. The power of graphical user interfaces and object-orientation has spawned a number of high-level front-ends or shells to enable non-programmers to generate their own straightforward applications. These visual programming tools allow for the construction of applications by selecting, connecting, copying and arranging programming objects.
Report generators are generally associated with database management systems and allow users to create ad-hoc, customized reports using the data in the database by specifying the various selection criteria and the desired report layout.
Application generators consist of standard building blocks that can be combined or customized to create the required systems. The user specifies the inputs, the output requirements and the various data validations and transformations. Generally, these generators are supported by a comprehensive database management system.
Logic programming for knowledge based systems. Programmers quickly discovered that conventional programming languages were inadequate to develop advanced knowledge based applications, such as expert systems and other artificial intelligence systems.
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